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 On Friday's Show: Minimize

South Jeff girls' lacrosse coach - Jen Williams 

* Voice of the Syracuse Chiefs - Jason Benetti

Athlon Sports Baseball Writer - Mark Ross

* Syracuse Orange legend - Lawrence Moten

We'll get you covered on what you missed during the week in Frontier League sports. Plus, we'll dig into Major League Baseball and fantasy baseball and we'll look at Syracuse lacrosse as the Orange hit the stretch run.


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SU Football: LS-BOOOOO?

 

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

So one of the big announcements is a home-and-home with Louisiana State University? Well, okay then.

I wasn't thinking of LSU when I got this email on Tuesday:

Announcement_medium 

(Yes, I was getting a text from a friend at the same time this screen shot was taken. And yes, my friend Pete likes to call people "dudely" and "broham.")

A "major announcement" to unveiled at Destiny USA! What could it be? Uniform changes seemed most obvious, but when Niko Tamurian tweeted this,

...I was a little thrown off. I mean, uniform changes have been talked about for so long around here that it's taken this long for SU to officially introduce them was surprising. But another "major" announcement on top of new jerseys? Hmm...A new arena? A new SU Athletics store to be housed at Destiny?

And then Sean Farrell goes and tweets LSU and Syracuse, home-and-home,

and my instant reaction is, Yeah, count me out on that one. "Major announcement" or just regular announcement, or no announcement, I'm not in on it.

All I can think about is watching the Orange get beaten down in the Bayou in a couple of seasons from now -- a loss that at its best would be deflating to a season and at its worst would be stunting to a program. Unless LSU takes a serious nosedive or Syracuse makes a gigantic leap, I can't envision that game ending well for Shafer's crew.

But a funny thing happened on the way to writing this scathing column. In my constant effort to see the other side of every argument, which is a coping mechanism for insecurity, I literally talked myself right into being excited for the Tigers. Well, at least for the 2015 game. A game that's actually going to be played in the Big Sauna right in Central New York. A game that could attract 48,000-plus fans.

Listen, I don't think Syracuse will win that game next year, but there are some reasons to at least think it could be more competitive than I originally believed.

(Who likes bullet points? Good!)

  • Experience - 2015 will theoretically be Terrel Hunt's senior season. If you're going to battle the Big Boys you'll most certainly want an experienced quarterback leading the charge.
  • More Experience - Glance at the 2014 roster and you'll notice a lot of sophomores and juniors that will be juniors and seniors come '15. That includes key players like Ashton Broyld and Durell Eskridge and a bunch of other players that are expected to make an impact on both sides of the ball.
  • Scott Shafer - This could be classified as "Experience" as well, but I decided to give Shafer his own category. Think about his 2013 debut season for a moment. There is little question Shafer was learning by fire, figuring things out as they went along. And by the time December rolled around, I got the feeling Shafer had come into his own. By September of 2015 Shafer will have two full seasons of figuring things out under his belt.
  • Carrier Dome - I was too young to watch the win over Nebraska, but I certainly remember Syracuse's win over Florida in 1991. The dome was never the most intimidating (despite some revisionist historians pleas to the contrary) but there was certainly a time where the Loud House meant more than just hoops. Ignore the Greg Robinson era and you can see SU has had success against upper-echelon teams under the bubble.

I'll stand by original tweet, though, and, if given a choice, I would much prefer Syracuse to A) play nonconference games against more regional-based opponents like Penn State, Maryland or even West Virginia, and B) stay away from the real Big Boys like LSU and USC. More often than not a closer-than-expected loss like SU experienced against SC a couple of seasons ago is probably the most to be gained. Hosting the Terrapins isn't "sexy," but it's something of a regional rivalry and who needs more bling than Florida State or Clemson or even, every so often, Miami? The ACC does offer a lot in terms of competitive opponents, if you think

Yet, we all know Daryl Gross is going to forever schedule marquee contests for the Orange, even if they would be better served to be apart of the preliminary card. SU is kind of a Koko B. Ware to Gross' vision of it being Hulk Hogan. And because of that, and because the nature of college football is to get on national television and collect a big gate, Syracuse will continue to put itself out there, even when "there" is the woodshed.

Which is ultimately one of the reasons I started to reconsider my initial #HotSportsTake on this "major" announcement. We can't do anything about Gross' scheduling, so we might as while embrace it and look for the silver linings. And it just so happens that come September of 2015 a silver lining could mean a packed Carrier Dome, a top-ten LSU and a the best chance at Syracuse "shocking the world" in decades.

Of course, the dark cloud to that silver lining should be one ugly blowout loss in a few years from now, but there's no need to think about the Orange playing at LSU right now.

SU Basketball: Death, Taxes, Tired Headline Cliches and Orange Basketball

 

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

OMG, what is Syracuse going to do without Firstname Lastname going pro?! Oh wait, that's right, Syracuse will be just fine.

There's nothing strange about Franklin Howard committing to play basketball at Syracuse University. Why would there be something off about a highly touted recruit deciding to play for Jim Boeheim? Syracuse isn't exactly Kentucky or Duke when it comes to Blue Chippers, but throughout Boeheim's run, there haven't been a lack of stars flying around the dome either.

Now, what about Franklin Howard committing to Syracuse the very day Jerami Grant bolts Syracuse? Is that strange? Ironic? Or even serendipitous?

Really, it's none of the above because, and this is not to be offensive to Grant or Tyler Ennis, who is also leaving SU early, it's just Syracuse rolling along. The Orange program isn't a Blue Blood but it's damn close in terms of relevance, importance and consistency. Winning begets winning around here, regardless of who actually suits up. Yes, there has "only" been one national championship in 38 years of the Hall Famer running things, but I think most fans of other teams would take what Syracuse routinely gives its followers.

And think about this, programs like North Carolina or even national champion Connecticut have had down years recently because so many young players bolted the program early. SU? Well, Ennis and Grant will likely give Syracuse eight first round picks in the last seven NBA drafts. And somehow SU continues to win at all all-time clip.

Sure, next season will be strange, relying on so many players who aren't even on campus yet. And given some of the players that we know will be on other school's campuses, well, I'm betting SU won't be on most people's radars come next November. A definitive switch from the last couple of years that brought preseason top-ten predictions, right? A team with Ennis and Grant would probably be top two or three, a team without both of them may not even be top-25 in the first rankings of the season. And most of the ACC talk will absolutely revolve around Louisville's debut and its legit shot at another title. Then there's Duke, which, if Jabari Parker is back, could be the odds on favorite to reach the Final Four. Don't forget about North Carolina and Virginia, too.

So, what about Syracuse?

Well, 20-plus wins is a lock, as is a preseason tourney title (do you realize that SU's last loss in a November tournament was in the 2007 NIT?) and I'm betting there will be a few more huge Dome wins and maybe a classic or two against those Blue Devils. Basically, what we can all expect is Syracuse to be Syracuse -- probably minus the 25-0 start and a No. 1 ranking, but things should be status quo.

Yada, yada, yada. I mean, the preceding paragraphs are about as useful as directions on a bottle of shampoo. Not because of the words on the bottle, which would fit here too, but because if you're picking up a bottle in the shower, chances are you know what to do with it. If you're reading this, if you're already thinking about Syracuse Orange basketball 2014-15 then you know what's going to happen: Syracuse is going to win more than it loses and it's going to be, for better or worse for your heart, entertaining as hell.

Howard's commitment for 2015, along Kaleb Joseph's and Chris McCullough's arrival next season, is all apart of the process. A process, by the way, that includes the departures of an Ennis, Grant and Michael Carter-Williams. Because for every successful program there are successful players to be courted by the NBA. It's the way it goes when things are going well.

I believe the fans call it reoading not rebuilding.

For every Grant there'll be Howard, for every departure an arrival, for every season there'll be excitement because it's just the way of life for Syracuse basketball. And even though there's some random pitfalls and rarely a lack of drama, life is still pretty damn good.


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We're back, everyone!

After a little more than two years away, Matt Mc's Sports Fix is rebooting and is ready to bring you coverage of North Country sports. In fact, we are here to be your source for Frontier League sports, Watertown Red and Black and Rams coverage, and, of course, Syracuse Orange discussion.

Also, each morning Fox Sports 1410 will air North Country ScoreCenters: I'll have updates on what happened on the courts and fields locally and a preview for what's on tap tonight.

And then there's the Sports Fix - airing Friday mornings from 7 to 9. We will put a two-hour spotlight on the players, coaches and media that make up North Country sports. Plus, as always, I'll mix in a few opinions and we may even break news every now and again, too. But above all, the Sports Fix is here for you, so let us know your thoughts via email: mattmcsportsfix@yahoo.com and Twitter: @matthewmcclusky https://twitter.com/MatthewMcClusky!


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